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For lungs...CT scan or Xray

Posts: 719
Joined: Feb 2005

Hi there. I am stage III, 3 nodes positive and tumor removed from my cecum in 2004 with chemo in 2005. So far I have no mets...I have been following the regime of yearly colonscopy, CT of abdomen and pelvis, and chest X-ray; I have blood work every three months. My question is this: Any thoughts about CT of lungs rather than the X-ray? My onc has wanted to limit my radiation; but, I am heading into my appts in November and am wondering... Also, there was a yahoo-news artcile this am highlighing early detection of lung cancer through scans (this was for smokers, but I thought it could apply to us). Again, thoughts? Thanks and I hope this finds everyone well! Take care - Maura

chynabear's picture
Posts: 483
Joined: Jul 2005

Hi Maura,

It's interesting that you bring this up today. MSN has an artical on chest scans vs x-rays and it was shown on (I think) the Today Show (mom was telling me).

You should check it out at


I was dx stage iii 1 node positive with cancerous polyp removed in my sigmoid colon. I too have no mets so far, thank God. I too have had an annual scope (will go to either 2 years or 3 years after this last one). I have had blood every three months. In the beginning (until insurance balked) I was receiving a PET/CT every 3 months. After insurance trouble, I started just the CT every 3 months. My last scan, my Dr started extending my scans out. It will be 7 months between scans this time. My CT scans have always been "from thighs to eyes". The only x-ray I have had was during the insertion of my port.

From what this article reads, if I am reading it right, is that CT's are a far better indicator of early tumor detection in the lungs. I want to read it again to make sure I understand it, though.

Good question, though.


Posts: 183
Joined: Jul 2005

Hi, from experience with my dad I would say a Cat Scan. My dad had the once a year X-Ray of his lungs. Then all of a sudden he had an x-ray and he had muliple lung tumors. I dont know why a year earlier the x-ray showed nothing. So I think Cat Scan would be the way to go. Mindy

Betsydoglover's picture
Posts: 1255
Joined: Jul 2005

Maura -

My oncologist says that the "standard of care" for Stage III CRC with adjuvant chemo is 2 years of CT and PET scans every 3 months. Being Stage IV, but NED for 14 months, she is treating me that way. The insurance always complains about the PET, but in the end they always pay when the radiologist sends in the paperwork to explain that my CT's are somewhat "inconclusive" and whatever other magic words he knows he has to say (and so he says them). (I hate this insurance game!)

I am sure opinions vary, but I don't think a chest x-ray is worth all that much - think you should probably have CT of chest, abdomen and pelvis when you have your CT scans and probably a bit more than once a year. But, in the end I only know what I have been told - I don't like the radiation exposure, but at least in my case I think it is the lesser of evils - I dread a liver met showing up again, but I sure want it to be caught early (realize that is a little different since you haven't had Stage IV disease).

Take care,

Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

I don't know the details of why, but I have CT of chest,adomen and pelvis. I had a very small lung met picked up on CT so I'm a 'fan'. I don't know if it wd have been on xray. REcently my docs have been discussing low-dosage CT, to reduce the amnt of radiation I'm exposed to.

Posts: 13
Joined: Feb 2006

I say go for the CT if you can -- my husband has mets to his lungs that did not show up on an xray, they were found with the CT scan.

Posts: 319
Joined: Jan 2003

HI, Maura I agree with most. I am stage 4 liver metast and my Dr. has been doing the every 3 to 4 month( really 3 but sometimes a little nervous and go 4 month CAT Scan) of the Chest Abd and Pelvis. Will be going next month for check up and my 6 month colonoscopy.

Posts: 719
Joined: Feb 2005

Thanks so much for the quick responses...Much appreciated! I will make a call to my onc tomorrow and ask for the expanded CT. I did forget to say...Thank God I have no mets...Take care and all the best - Maura

Posts: 488
Joined: Jun 2006


CT is the way to go for the lungs. My sister, who had been coughing for months, had TWO xrays that showed nothing. Finally, after six months, her doctor ordered a CT and found multiple nodules. She was already Stage IIIB lung cancer by that time and passed five years ago. Xrays are pretty worthless for lung tumors, in my baised opinion.

vinny3's picture
Posts: 933
Joined: Jun 2006

You definitely want the CT scan or PET scan. The mets have to get to be a certain size before showing up on x-ray. It's just an insurance game to do x-rays- they are not worth it for following for possible mets. There is some concern regarding the frequency of CT or PET scans and the amount of radiation received. This is going to be more of a concern the younger you are. I don't know if there is any answer yet regarding the amount of radiation that is acceptable.

Posts: 719
Joined: Feb 2005

Patrusha and Dick -- Thank you very much as well. I am so happy that I asked. I really think I will stick to the yearly CT...But I am certainly making plans for the CT rather than the x-ray. Actually, I made the call this morning! Patrusha, I am So sorry for your sister that anything was found. And, Dick...As for age and radiation, I don't feel 49 at all; but I'll risk a little to save me in the future? Thank you again, and all the best to you both - Maura

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